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Podiatry Description
Podiatric Medicine

PODIATRIST - DESCRIPTION

Podiatry or podiatric medicine is a branch of medicine devoted to the study of diagnosis, medical and surgical treatment of disorders of the foot, ankle, and lower extremity. The term podiatry came into use in the early 20th century in the United States and is now used worldwide with countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia.

A Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM), is a medical specialist who diagnoses and treats conditions affecting the foot, ankle, and structures of the leg. The training of podiatric physicians includes human anatomy, physiology, pathophysiology, sociological and psychological perspectives, general medicine, surgery and pharmacology. Specialist podiatric physicians are podiatrists with additional postgraduate training or fellowship training and experience in the specialized field.

Within the field of podiatry, US trained podiatric physicians rotate through major areas of medicine gaining exposure and practice to areas including but not limited to: surgery, sports medicine, biomechanics, geriatrics, internal medicine,diabetes, vascular, neurological, pediatrics, dermatological, orthopedics, or primary care.

Podiatry is practiced as a specialty in many countries, while in many English-speaking countries, the older title of "chiropodist" may be used by some clinicians. In Australia the title is podiatrist or podiatric physician and the specialist is the podiatric surgeon. In many non-English-speaking countries of Europe, the title used may be "podologist" or "Podólogo". The level and scope of the practice of podiatry varies among countries.

Scope of practice varies from different demographic and geographic areas. In the United States there is varied scope on where reconstructive surgery is done. According to the California Board of Podiatric Medicine, Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPMs) are licensed under Section 2472 of the State Medical Practice Act. They diagnose and treat medical conditions affecting the foot, ankle and related structures (including the tendons that insert into the foot and the nonsurgical treatment of the muscles and tendons of the leg). Any procedure and modality is within the DPM scope if utilized to diagnose and treat foot, ankle or other podiatric conditions. In addition to performing foot and ankle surgeries. DPMs are trained and fully licensed to independently perform full-body history and physical (H&P) examinations in any setting for any patient. DPMs, many of whom develop expertise in the care and preservation of the diabetic foot, perform partial amputations of the foot as far as proximal with the Chopart's joint, to prevent greater loss of limb, ambulation, or life. While podiatrists may order and administer anesthesia and sedatives, the administration of general anesthesia may only be performed by an anesthesiologist or certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA). DPMs commonly administer intravenous (IV) sedation.

Podiatrists are uniquely qualified among medical professionals to treat only diseases of the foot and ankle. Whether it's sports medicine, pediatrics, dermatology or diabetes, today's podiatrist can tackle the many diverse facets of foot care. Podiatrists are often the first to identify systemic diseases in patients, such as diabetes and associated complications, high blood pressure and heart disease. Today's podiatrists:

  • perform surgery
  • perform complete medical histories and physical examinations
  • prescribe medications
  • set fractures and treat sports-related injuries
  • prescribe and fit orthotics, insoles, and custom-made shoes
  • order and perform physical therapy
  • take and interpret X-rays and other imaging studies
  • work as valued members of a community's health care team

Doctors of podiatric medicine receive medical education and training in podiatric medical colleges including four years of undergraduate education, four years of graduate education at one of nine podiatric medical colleges and three years of hospital-based residency training. All podiatrists receive a DPM degree.

Podiatrists - SUMMARY

Quick Facts: Podiatrists
2012 Median Pay $116,440 per year
$55.98 per hour
Entry-Level Education Doctoral or professional degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Internship/residency
Number of Jobs, 2012 10,700
Job Outlook, 2012-22 23% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change, 2012-22 2,400
Podiatrists provide treatment for foot, ankle, and lower-leg ailments
Podiatrists provide treatment for foot, ankle, and lower-leg ailments.

What Podiatrists Do

Podiatrists provide medical care for people with foot, ankle, and lower leg problems. They diagnose illnesses, treat injuries, and perform surgery involving the lower extremities.

Work Environment

Most podiatrists work in offices of podiatry, either on their own or with other podiatrists. Some work in group practices with other physicians or specialists. Others work in private and public hospitals and outpatient care centers.

How to Become a Podiatrist

Podiatrists must earn a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM) degree and complete a 3-year residency program. Podiatrists must be licensed.

Pay

The median annual wage for podiatrists was $116,440 in May 2012.

Job Outlook

Employment of podiatrists is projected to grow 23 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Continued growth in the demand for medical and surgical care of the foot and ankle will stem from the aging population. Podiatrists will also be needed to treat patients with foot and ankle conditions caused by chronic conditions, such as diabetes and obesity.

Last Modification: 01-26-2014
Source:
http://www.bls.gov